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Implant Retained Prosthetics

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Implant retained prosthetics are a fake tooth or teeth that are secured into the mouth with the use of dental implants. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are embedded into the jawbone and sit below the gum line. Implants are composed of three different parts: the implant screw, the abutment (connector), and the dental prosthetic. The implant screw holds the implant in place and the abutment connects the dental prosthetic to the implant screw. Depending on the treatment plan, there can be different types of implant retained prosthesis such as:

  • Single prosthesis: replacement for a single missing tooth that is composed of a dental crown attached to a dental implant.
  • Partial prosthesis: replacement for multiple missing teeth that are adjacent to each other. Usually composed of a fixed bridge and a minimum of two dental implants.
  • Complete prosthesis: replacement for all the teeth in the upper and/or lower arch. Usually composed of a denture and a minimum of four dental implants.

Did You Know?

About 30 million Americans are currently living without all or some of their natural teeth. Implant retained prosthetics are an effective way to restore these missing teeth and prevent bone loss. They can also help to restore both speaking and eating functions as well.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Am I a candidate for implant retained prosthetics?

Close up of a mouth with a missing front upper tooth

You may be a candidate for implant retained prosthetics if you have teeth that are missing or that are severely damaged or decayed. Depending on the number of missing teeth and the current condition of your jawbone, you may be a candidate for different types of dental prosthetics. To find out which option would work best for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Speer of Oak Grove Dental Center today!

Do I need to have adequate bone mass for implant retained prosthetics?

In most cases, yes you will need to have enough bone mass so that the implant can fuse securely with the surrounding bone. However, if your teeth have been missing for over six months, you are likely to have some bone loss. Bone loss can also occur for a variety of other reasons, such as genetics or medications. If you are lacking adequate bone mass for dental implants, there are some options available. The most common are bone grafts, sinus lifts, and ridge expansions.

Bone grafts place bone material around the implant site and below the gumline that will eventually grow and harden into new bone. This bone grafting material can be a powder, granules, putty, or a gel that has been harvested from your own body or artificially produced in a lab. After a bone graft, you may have to wait about 3-6 months for the bone grafting material to completely harden into new bone. In some cases, a bone graft may also be able to be performed in coordination with the placement of dental implants.

Computerized image of a sinus lift

A sinus lift is a specialized bone graft that is performed on the upper jaw to ensure the protection of the sinus cavity. With a sinus lift, bone material may be added to thicken the bone that lies between your teeth and sinus cavity. This ensures that a dental implant cannot break through and damage the sinus cavity.

A ridge expansion can also be performed in cases where there is not enough width in the jaw itself. Ridge expansions work by adding bone grafting material to the ridge on the top of your mouth in order to widen the jaw. However, most people are able to have dental implants without undergoing a ridge expansion.

Some other options deal with the implants themselves. For example, all-on-four implants that are commonly used for complete prosthetics can often be placed strategically in specific areas that have more bone. There are also mini dental implants, which are more narrow in diameter and require less bone mass to be placed. If you are lacking bone mass, Dr. Speer will discuss these options with you to determine the best treatment plan.

What can I expect when having an implant retained prosthetic placed?

When having an implant retained prosthetic placed, the first step is to have a dental implant placed. To place a dental implant, Dr. Speer will first anesthetize the affected area to numb the tooth and keep you comfortable. Some form of dental sedation will also likely be used to keep you calm and relaxed.

To access your jawbone, a small incision will be made in your gums. Then a series of drills will be used to drill and shape a hole for the implant. The implant screw will then be screwed into this hole in the jawbone. In some cases, bone grafting material may also be placed to encourage bone growth. Once the implant screw is in place, the gums will be sutured up. Depending on how many implants are being placed, this process may be repeated multiple times.

The implant will then be left to heal for approximately 3-6 months.  As it heals, the bone will grow around the implant screw and secure it into place. This is a process known as osseointegration. The second part of the dental implant procedure can only be performed once osseointegration has occurred and the implant is firmly in place.

The three stages of dental implant placement

During the second procedure, another tiny incision will be made in your gums to access the implant screw. Then the abutment, or connector piece, will be attached to the implant screw. Once all the abutments are attached, a digital scan or dental impression will be taken of your mouth. This information is used to custom fabricate your permanent prosthetic. In the meantime, you may be fit with a temporary prosthetic.

Once your permanent prosthetic has been fabricated, Dr. Speer will place it in your mouth and check it for proper fit and color, making adjustments as necessary. The final step is to have the final restoration cemented or otherwise attached to the abutments.

Will I have to follow any special post-treatment guidelines?

Yes, Dr. Speer will provide you with detailed instructions for you to follow after each step of the procedure. These instructions can vary slightly depending on your individual treatment plan, however they all revolve around similar practices.

Generally, the post-treatment guidelines will provide you with details about how to manage post-treatment pain, swelling, and bleeding. They will also provide instructions on how to keep the treatment area clean and how to prevent infection. You may also need to practice temporary diet and activity restrictions.

How do I care for my implant retained prosthetics?

Once the treatment area has healed, there is no additional care required for your implant retained prosthetics other than practicing good oral habits. This includes brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste for two minutes at a time and flossing once a day. Additionally, you will need to schedule regular dental checkups and professional teeth cleanings at Oak Grove Dental Center every six months.

In addition to regular brushing and flossing, you will also want to avoid behaviors that could cause your prosthetic to become damaged. Although dental prosthetics are strong, they are not indestructible and can become damaged same as your natural teeth. Behaviors you should avoid include nail biting, ice chewing, and using your teeth as an opener. You should also consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth if you play sports or regularly grind/clench your teeth.

With proper care, your implant retained prosthetics have the potential to last about 10-20years, making them one of the strongest and longest-lasting dental restorations.

At Oak Grove Dental Center, we believe that providing high quality dentistry is only part of creating a successful relationship with our patients. To experience some of the best dental care in Milwaukie, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin H. Speer today!